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Tanker Ship Reports Missile Fire in Red Sea Near Yemen


FILE - The entrance of the new section of the Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt, on Aug. 6, 2015.
FILE - The entrance of the new section of the Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt, on Aug. 6, 2015.

A commercial vessel operating in the Red Sea Friday reported that two missiles exploded in the water near its position as it sailed near Yemen, but caused no damage or injuries.

Safety organization United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations – UKMTO – said it received a report from the vessel that an explosion was heard and a missile was sighted about seven kilometers from the ship’s position, 111 kilometers from the Yemeni city of Aden.

The ship reported a second explosion and missile sighting shortly after, this time less than one kilometer away. No damage or injuries were reported from either missile and the vessel continued to its next port of call.

UKMTO said “coalition forces” were “responding” but offered no details.

Reuters news agency, citing the British maritime security firm Ambrey, reports the ship is a Panama-flagged, India-affiliated oil products tanker.

The attacks come after a week in which Britain and the United States launched a new round of strikes targeting Iran-backed Houthi rebel sites in Yemen. The U.S. military said the attacks hit radar installations, missile launch sites, and most significantly, an underground weapons storage facility.

The strikes came in response to Houthi attacks on commercial and military vessels operating in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Thursday, Britain and the United States announced sanctions on four senior Houthi officials, freezing and or blocking any or all of their financial assets under the control of U.S. citizens.

In a statement, the U.S. State Department said the Houthi attacks on merchant vessels “have disrupted international supply chains and infringed on navigational rights and freedoms.”

The Houthis have said they are conducting the attacks in support of Palestinians involved in the ongoing conflict with Israel. A Houthi spokesman said this week, in response to the British and U.S. attacks, that they will take all necessary military procedures “within the legitimate right of defense of our country, our people, and our nation, by targeting all hostile American and British targets in the Red and Arab seas.”

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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